KABUL (Reuters) – The Islamic State militant group claimed accountability on Sunday for a suicide blast at a marriage reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 individuals, underlining the hazards the nation faces even when the Taliban agrees a pact with the USA.
The Saturday evening assault got here because the Taliban and the USA attempt to negotiate an settlement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in alternate for a Taliban dedication on safety and peace talks with Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed authorities.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads within the east and north, usually are not concerned within the talks. They’re battling authorities and U.S.-led worldwide forces and the Taliban.
The U.S. particular envoy for reconciliation in Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, stated the assault confirmed the necessity to speed up efforts to succeed in a cope with the Taliban, to assist defeat Islamic State.
The Sunni Muslim group, in a press release on the messaging web site Telegram, claimed accountability for the assault at a west Kabul marriage ceremony corridor in a minority Shi’ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been capable of infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives within the crowd of “infidels”.
Islamic State has claimed among the most bloody assaults in Afghan cities over the previous couple of years, with some aimed on the Shi’ite minority.
The Taliban had earlier denied accountability for the blast and condemned it.
Greater than 180 individuals had been wounded, with many ladies and kids among the many casualties, inside ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi stated on Sunday as grieving households thronged to Kabul’s crowded cemeteries.
“We would like peace, not such brutal suicide assaults,” stated Ahmad Khan, who was burying a relative.
Photos on social media from the scene of the blast confirmed our bodies strewn amid overturned tables and chairs, with darkish blood stains on the marriage corridor carpet.
Each the bride and groom survived.
“I gained’t ever be capable of neglect this, nonetheless a lot I attempt,” the groom, Mirwais Elmi, informed the TOLOnews channel.
He stated his cousin and a few associates had been killed.
The bride’s father informed TOLOnews that 14 members of his household had been killed.
BLOODSHED AND TALKS
Brightly lit marriage ceremony halls that line some suburban streets of the town have been focused beforehand by bombers. No less than 40 individuals had been killed in a blast in November.
There was no let-up in combating and bomb assaults in Afghanistan over latest months regardless of talks between the USA and the Taliban since late final 12 months.
President Ashraf Ghani, in feedback on the Kabul blast earlier than the Islamic State declare, stated the Taliban couldn’t “absolve themselves of blame for they supply a platform for terrorists”.
Celebrations for Monday’s 100th anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from Britain had been curtailed out of respect for the blast victims, the president’s workplace stated.
The Taliban has been combating to expel overseas forces and re-establish a theocratic Islamic state since its ousting in October 2001, weeks after the Sept. 11 assaults on the USA.
Each U.S. negotiators and the Taliban have reported progress after eight rounds of talks since late final 12 months.
U.S. President Donald Trump has made no secret of his want for a U.S. pullout from Afghanistan and an finish to America’s longest battle.
However there are considerations amongst Afghan officers and U.S. nationwide safety aides that Afghanistan could possibly be plunged into a brand new civil battle that might herald a return of Taliban rule and worldwide militants, together with Islamic State, discovering a refuge.
Afghan authorities officers additionally worry Taliban pact might drive some die-hard Taliban fighters into the arms of Islamic State.
Underneath the anticipated deal, the Taliban, in alternate for a U.S. dedication to withdraw, would assure that Afghanistan wouldn’t be a sanctuary for militants to broaden and plot new assaults.
The US additionally needs a Taliban dedication to carry power-sharing talks with the federal government and announce a ceasefire. The Taliban have refused to speak to the federal government.
U.S. envoy Khalilzad stated the peace course of needed to be accelerated, specifically the intra-Afghan talks.
“Success right here will put Afghans in a a lot stronger place to defeat ISIS,” he tweeted, referring to Islamic State.
About 14,000 U.S. troops stay in Afghanistan, coaching and advising Afghan safety forces and conducting counterinsurgency operations.
Reporting by Orooj Hakimi in KABUL, Matin Sahak in MAZAR-I-SHARIF; Writing by Robert Birsel; Modifying by Simon Cameron-Moore/Gareth Jones/David Goodman/Jane Merriman